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Malpractice Insurance

                                                                                                             EXPERT ADVICE

                                                                                         Separate Medical Malpractice

                                                                                  Policies Key to Protecting Physicians

                                                                                     BY VANESSA ORR                                There are several reasons
                                                                                                                                 why physicians don’t carry
                                                                                    In the medical field,                        separate policies, ranging
                                                                                  it’s  beneficial  when                         from lack of knowledge to
                                                                                  physicians, nurse practi-                      trying to save money. “In
                                                                                  tioners, physician assis-                      some cases, they just aren’t
                                                                                  tants, and the practice                        aware of what can happen if
                                                                                  they belong to all work                        everyone is on the same
                                                                                  as one, providing a mul-                       policy,”  said   Danna.
                                                                                  tidisciplinary approach                        “Others are trying to save
                                                                                  to patient care. But in                        money by not insuring the
                                                                                  the medical malpractice                        corporation and the allied
                                                                                  world, it’s much smarter                       professionals  separately,
                                                                                  to keep these different       Julie Danna      but this can cost them in
                                                                                  individuals separate—                          the long run.”
                                                                                  especially when sharing insurance lim-  She added that most carriers charge
                                                                                  its.                                 physicians to add allieds and corpora-
                                                                                    “While many physicians practicing in   tions to their policies, and this premium
                                                                                  Florida carry $250,000/$750,000 limits,   could be used to create a separate corpo-
                                                                                  there is a problem if they are sharing   rate policy that shares its limit with the
                                                                                  these limits with their corporations as   allied providers, and protects the doctor
                                                                                  well as professional allieds such as nurse   from diluting his or her policy.
                                                                                  practitioners and physician assistants,”   Even if a doctor isn’t sued but the
                                                                                  explained Julie Danna, cyRM, medical   allieds or corporation is, it can affect the
                                                                                  malpractice and cyber liability insurance   physician’s credentialing ability. “This
                                                                                  specialist at Danna-Gracey, the largest   information is reported to the National
                                                                                  independent medical malpractice insur-  Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), and the
                                                                                  ance agency in Florida.              doctor can be pegged for a claim that he
                                                                                    “If a doctor gets sued along with his or   or she is not even involved in,” said
                                                                                  her allieds and the corporation, it can   Danna. “It can hold up the credentialing
                                                                                  leave that policy depleted,” she said. “If   process, especially if there is more than
                                                                                  there is not enough coverage, the policy-  one claim.”
                                                                                  holder is responsible for the rest.”   Danna adds that multiple lawsuits—
                                                                                    Danna gives the example of a surgeon   even if they do not directly include the
                                                                                  who had lower policy limits than he   doctor—can affect that physician’s abili-
                                                                                  needed and ended up paying more than   ty to receive hospital, Medicare, or
                                                                                  $75,000 out-of-pocket to settle a claim.   healthcare plan credentials and prevent
                                                                                  “He’s no longer practicing,” she said.   the purchase of a corporation if its own-
                                                                                  “It’s destructive enough to be pulled into   ers want to sell.
                                                                                  a lawsuit, but then to have to use your   “Each doctor should have his or her
                                                                                  own money above the limits of the poli-  own policy and have a corporate policy
                                                                                  cy to settle it can destroy a career.   that includes the allied professionals,”
                                                                                    “What scares me most is that so many   she said, adding that it’s essential to
                                                                                  physicians are completely underin-   work with a specialist in the medical
                                                                                  sured,” she added. “Take the example of   malpractice field instead of an insurance
                                                                                  an OB/GYN with a $250,000 limit. If he   generalist. “It could save a doctor’s
                                                                                  gets sued for $125,000 and his nurse   career.”
                                                                                  practitioner gets sued for $75,000, and
                                                                                  the   corporation  gets  sued  for         For more information, contact Julie
                                                                                  $100,000—who pays the difference? His   Danna at, call
                                                                                  legal fees may be covered, but the rest is             (850) 530-3924 or
                                                                                  the doctor’s responsibility.”                    visit

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         6                         June 2021                                                                                                                             South Florida Hospital News
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